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Current Affairs 27th May 2024 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Astronomical Transients

Context: Recently, Indian-American astronomer Shrinivas Kulkarni was awarded the Shaw Prize for Astronomy for his work on the physics of astronomical transients.

About Astronomical Transients

  • Definition: A ‘transient’ in astronomy refers to any celestial object whose brightness changes over short periods of time.
    • Transients are typically associated with violent astronomical phenomena.
  • Importance of Studying Transients: Astronomers study transients to understand the origins of their violence and what it reveals about non-transient events.
  • Examples of Astronomical Transients:
    • Supernovae:
      • Occur when large stars explode, blowing up their outer layers while their cores implode after exhausting elements for fusion.
      • Supernovae can become brighter than all the stars in their host galaxy combined.
    • Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN):
      • Found at the centres of massive galaxies, hosting supermassive black holes.
      • These black holes sometimes consume matter in their orbit, causing interactions that make the matter acquire energy and glow with varying brightness.
    • Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs):
      • Discovered in 2007, FRBs are mysterious and difficult to spot.
      • They can emit more than 10 times the energy of the Sun in a few milliseconds.
      • The cause of FRBs is still unknown.



  • ISRO’s commercial arm, New Space India Limited (NSIL), invited private firms for “end-to-end” manufacturing of the Launch Vehicle Mark-III (LVM3), previously known as GSLV-MkIII.
  • This initiative aims to enhance private sector participation and strengthen India’s position in the global space market.

What is Launch Vehicle Mark-III (LVM3)?

  • Formerly known as Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mk-3.
  • A three-stage launch vehicle developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  • Capable of placing 4-tonne class satellites in Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) and 8-tonne payloads in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
  • Has successfully launched six missions, including Chandrayaan-2 and Chandrayaan- 3.

Technical Specifications:

  • Height:5 metres
  • Weight: 640 tonnes
  • Stages:
    • Two S200 solid strap-on motors (each with 204 tonnes of propellant)
    • One L110 liquid core stage
    • One C25 high-thrust cryogenic upper stage (with a fully indigenous CE20 engine).

India’s Trade Deficit

Context: India recorded a trade deficit with 9 out of its top 10 trading partners in 2023-24.

More in News

  • Trade Surplus: The U.S. is the only top trading partner with which India has a trade surplus of $36.74 billion.
    • Other countries: India also has a trade surplus with Belgium, Italy, France, and Bangladesh.
  • Bilateral Trade with China: Increased to $118.28 billion in 2023-24, with China as India’s largest trading partner.
  • Comparison with Previous Year:
    • Deficits with China, Russia, Korea, and Hong Kong increased.
    • Deficits with UAE, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Indonesia, and Iraq decreased.
  • Economic Impact: Trade deficits can lead to currency depreciation, making imports more expensive and worsening the deficit.
    • Experts from the Global Trade Research Initiative highlighted the pressure on the domestic economy due to rising trade deficits.

India's Trade Deficit

Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)
  • An FTA is a pact between two or more nations to reduce barriers to imports and exports among them.
  • Under a free trade policy, goods and services can be bought and sold across international borders with minimal government tariffs, quotas, subsidies, or prohibitions.
  • Free trade is the opposite of trade protectionism or economic isolationism.

Examples, Case Studies and Data

  • Slowdown in Global Growth (GS- 3): Global recession risks have decreased, but inflation concerns continue to threaten financial stability.
    • The IMF, World Bank, and rating agencies predict a slowdown in global growth, highlighting key risks such as Middle East conflicts, financial stress, persistent inflation, and reduced international trade.
    • The IMF’s Global Debt Monitor reports global debt at $235 trillion, equivalent to 238% of global GDP, raising fears of a debt crisis.
    • Fiscal prudence may be challenged as many nations face elections this year.

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I, Sakshi Gupta, am a content writer to empower students aiming for UPSC, PSC, and other competitive exams. My objective is to provide clear, concise, and informative content that caters to your exam preparation needs. I strive to make my content not only informative but also engaging, keeping you motivated throughout your journey!

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